Two quick updates to recent tales of infamy on our own front page:
RIM-devoted Attendees of the upcoming (and last-ever) Louis Vuitton Trophy in Dubai can rest easy – the UAE ban on the convenient little Blackberry device we reported on a couple of months ago has been lifted with a new agreement between Canadian Research In Motion and the UAE government. While details of the deal are unavailable, presumably RIM has provided for a server location in the Emirates where all the data from all the phones is stored, giving the Emirati government the ability to ‘keep an eye’ on the undesirable element. Guess that means Clean ain’t going back to the Middle East!
We reported last week on the CDC’s concern about the Dengue Fever outbreak in Key West over the past few months – the first such US outbreak in more than half a century. And while the City is taking steps to cut down the mosquito population, there may be a cure to the debilitating disease just around the corner. Two cures, actually. The first is a South Carolina-developed vaccine that’s proven 100% effective in preventing Dengue in monkeys, and its currently being tested with an eye toward a 2012 approval date. The second is even more interesting to us – a research team in Australia’s Far North are battling Dengue by injecting mozzies with Wolbachia bacteria and then releasing them into the wild. The bacteria presents the transmission of the fever to humans, and tests have shown that it transmits into non-Wolbachia mosquitoes when breeding, providing a sort of natural control of the fever without chemicals or vaccines. While neither solution will be available before this January, this may be only a passing concern to Key West Race Week attendees (who hopefully won’t notice a difference in the Keys other than more frequent mosquito spray truck runs), but it’s a far bigger deal to the many thousands of cruising folks that check out SA; Dengue is one of the most common tropical diseases on Earth affecting some 50 million people annually worldwide, and most cruisers know someone who’s been beaten up – or worse – by the bug. Hopefully the scientists will win this one.